The Iowa field hockey team passed its first true test of the new season Saturday as the 13th ranked Hawkeyes bested 18th ranked Wake Forest 2-0 at Grant Field in Iowa City during action in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
It improved Iowa’s record to 3-0 after the Hawkeyes beat Lafayette College and Bucknell earlier in the week.
“It was definitely a great win for us,” said head coach Tracey Griesbaum. “I think this win made a statement for us within our team. The manner in which we played and conducted ourselves was really awesome.”
Iowa held a 6-1 advantage in shots on Wake Forest (1-1) in the first half but neither team cracked the scoreboard.
In the second half, Iowa broke the scoreboard following a goal from Karli Johansen in the 47th minute. The goal came on a penalty stroke.
The Hawkeyes took a two-goal lead seven minutes later as sophomore Natalie Cafone scored on a breakaway.
That was enough for Iowa’s defense, who held strong in the remaining minutes to secure the team’s third win of the year. Iowa senior goalkeeper Kelsey Boyce played the entire match and recorded her second shutout of the season.
The Hawkeyes, who out-shot Wake Forest 17-3 in the match, continue action in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Grant Field on Sunday. Iowa (3-0) will host top-ranked North Carolina at 11:30 a.m. The match can be seen live on the Big Ten Digital Network.
Iowa 3, Lafayette College 0
The Hawkeyes beat the defending Patriot League champions thanks to goals from Karli Johansen, Kelsey Mitchell and Stephanie Norlander.
Johansen’s goal with 24:25 to play in the first half would have been enough, but Mitchell’s tally a few minutes later made it 2-0. Johansen scored on a penalty stroke, while Mitchell’s goal was her first of the season and was assisted by Cafone.
Norlander scored her second goal of the season when she beat the Lafayette goalkeeper just 13:28 into the second half. It came off a nice assist from Brynn Gitt.
Danielle Peirson and the Hawkeyes played stifling defense throughout, shutting out the defending Patriot League champions. The win improved Boyce’s record to 2-0 on the season.
“I am really impressed with how we opened up the season,” said Griesbaum. “When we come to the east coast our game is circled on our opponent’s schedule, so I was really impressed with how we stuck with it the whole game.”
Each team took 10 shots and six penalty corners in the match and both goalkeepers made four saves.
Iowa 3, Bucknell 1
The Hawkeyes got goals from Cafone, Norlander and Niki Schultheis in the win in their season opener at Rappolt Field.
Cafone netted Iowa’s first goal just five minutes into the match and then Norlander gave the Hawkeyes the lead for good later in the first half after Bucknell tied it on a deflection.
Schultheis made it 3-1 in the second half as Iowa limited Bucknell to just five shots on goal in the match.
Kelcey Boyce picked up her first collegiate win inside the net for the Hawkeyes.
“It was definitely a great first game for us,” said Griesbaum. “It was pretty much everything we expected and a little bit more so I was pleased with the outcome. I think everyone played well top to bottom.”